Nature Based Solutions - Implementation Models Database

Urban farm, Green garden facades

Urban greening by crowdfunding platform in Ghent

A short description of the NSB

As many cities in North West Europe, Ghent is facing with the impacts of climate change and it is experiencing negative effects due to excessive rainfall and rising temperatures. Given that additional green areas can help in addressing these effects, the city is actively developing policies to enhance its number of green areas. To realise these measures Ghent is looking for opportunities to actively involve its citizens in developing bottom-up initiatives in order to (1) stimulate co-creation partnerships rather than fully funding the initiatives and (2) ensure that the initiatives that do receive funding are supported by the community. Thus, the city of Ghent has developed a crowdfunding platform that allows citizens to share their ideas and raise the necessary funds to realize them. Today, two projects addressing climate adaptation have been successfully realized with support of the platform: • “Lekker dichtbij!” project establishes mini-gardens on balconies of social housing. Through urban farming more green areas are created contributing to mitigate extreme temperatures in urban areas. In addition, local food production reduces the need for long-distance transportation and therefore prevents an exhaust of carbon dioxide emissions. Urban farming also often requires less intensive agriculture as the farming is carried out on a smaller scale. In addition, “Lekker dichtbij!” project enhances social integration by stimulating cooperation between the residents from various cultural backgrounds. The project was successful in raising the pre-defined funding goal. • “the Edible Street” project transforms the traditional stone facades into vertical gardens to create additional green areas while stimulating local food production. Similar to the “Lekker dichtbij!” project, it contributes to the enhancement of green areas and to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Although this project was not successful in raising the complete pre-defined funding goal, it was successfully implemented by scaling down the project. Instead of placing 100 planters in 5 streets, 88 planters were placed in 3 streets.

NBS Implementation context
Location Ghent (Belgium)
Status (from - to) Ongoing (2015-2019)
NBS Scale Object (building, etc.) Neighbourhood City
NBS Impacts scale Object (building, etc.) Neighbourhood City
Urban density/ Soil consumption High (dense city center, etc.)
NBS Typology

NBS Uban Challenges
Climate Issues Climate mitigation
Climate adaptation
Other 0
Urban water management and quality Urban water management and quality
Flood management
Other 0
Air Quality Air quality at district/city scale
Air quality locally
Other 0
Urban Space and Biodiversity Biodiversity
Urban space design
Urban space management
Other 0
Urban Regeneration and Soil Air quality at district/city scale
Other 0
Resource efficiency Food, energy and water
Raw materials
Other 0
Public health and well-being Acustic
Quality of life
Other 0
Environmental justice and social cohesion Environmental Justice: Recognition
Environmental Justice: Procedural Justice
Environmental Justice: Distributional Justice
Environmental Justice: Capabilities
Environmental Justice: Responsibility
Social Cohesion
Other 0
Urban planning and governance Urban planning and form
Governance in planning
Other 0
People Security Control of crimes
Control of extraordinary events
Other 0
Green economy Circular economy
Bioeconomy activities
Direct economic value of NBS
Other 0
NBS Stakeholders & Governance was developed by the City of Ghent with the support of an existing crowdfunding platform developer. No other stakeholders were involved in the development phase of the process. The citizens of Ghent and private investors are considered end-users of the platform. They can participate as either initiator of a project or end-user. The City of Ghent has appointed one policy officer to manage the platform. The city’s platform manager functions as the person to connect to the end-users. He reviews the project applications, takes care of communication with the citizens and manages the contact with the platform developer. His activities do not include financial transactions or platform maintenance activities. Maintenance activities are carried out by the platform developer. With regard to the municipal subsidies, the city has appointed a jury of local experts. The final decision on the composition of this jury is taken by the City Council. The platform mainly targets an online audience due to its set-up. However, ‘offline’ citizens do have the opportunity to reach the platform manager by phone or mail. He is available to fill-out the application form with them in person. A variety of communication channels have been utilized by City of Ghent to inform the citizens about the platform. These include flyers, the city’s official social media accounts and an article in the city magazine.

Initial actors (Leaders) Governments Local government/municipality (the City of Ghent)
Involved actors Governments Local government/municipality (the City of Ghent),Community NGOÍs / CSOÍs / interest groups CBOÍs / neighborhood communities Citizens, Market Private sector Social enterprises / social entrepreneurs
Ecological scale Local scale green area
Governance model CLUSTER 1: Traditional public administration Participatory planning & budgeting
NBS Financial aspects

The person submitting an idea becomes a ‘project initiator’. This person needs to provide a short description and a funding goal for the project. People who provide financial backing to a project are known as ‘supporters’. Once the project is published, supporters can donate during a pre-defined period of time. The donated amount per idea (minimum donation of €5) is viewed as an indicator of community support; only the projects with sufficient community support will become financially viable. Additionally, the city has provided a fund of €55.000 per year specifically assigned to the crowdfunding platform. Initiators can choose to apply for 25, 50 or 75% of municipal funding. To be eligible for funding, the pre-defined amount of co-funding needs to be raised. This condition is a means for the city to ensure that the project has sufficient community support. Per project the maximum amount of municipal subsidy that can be obtained is €5.000. The first year (2015) of the platform has been successful in generating total revenue of €70.000. Of the total number of projects, 80% raised enough funding for implementation. So far 2 projects received an additional municipal subsidy. This subsidy amounted to a total of €1.480. The development of the platform involved both fixed and regular costs. Both costs have been covered by the city of Ghent. The costs were lower than the first year revenue collected by the crowdfunding projects. The specific IT-know-how necessary for the development and maintenance of a crowdfunding platform required the involvement of an external party. Next to the fixed costs, the city needs an internal project manager who can act as the central contact point on behalf of the city. This policy officer needs to be continuously involved in the project on at least a part-time basis in order for the project to run smoothly. Private investors can become eligible to fiscal benefits when supporting a project of their choice. Organisations, such as companies, foundations, associations, are able to make a direct deposit into the account of the project. This allows them to bring the expenses in as their tax deduction in a similar fashion as non-crowdfunding donations. A "regular" donation to a crowdfunding campaign is run through a platform account and therefore is not eligible for tax deductions. In example, the ‘Lekker dichtbij!’ project submitted its application in the spring of 2015, reached its funding deadline on June 14, 2015 and was implemented on June 19th, 2015. The project set €735 as its funding goal, but during the funding period it exceeded this amount by raising €822. The city of Ghent then co-financed the project for an additional €480. Even though the opportunity of additional public funding is offered, it does not seem to be an important motivator for project initiators to submit an application. In the first year of the crowdfunding platform only 2 projects applied for and received additional funding. Other benefits, such as publicity through the publication of the project on the platform, seem to be a more decisive factor in the consideration whether or not to submit an application.

Global (estimated) cost of the project 50k€ - 200k€
Financing mechanism CLUSTER 3: Citizen inclusion Crowdfunding, CLUSTER 4: PUBLIC-PRIVATE Private Finance Iniative PFI
NBS Business Models Archetype
Technological Maximize material productivity and energy efficiency
Social Adopt a stewardship role Encourage sufficiency
Organisational Re-purpose the business for society/environment Develop scale-up solutions
NBS Success and limiting factors
Process enablers
Knowledge Generation of evidence Lesson learnt through implemented projects, Collaboration Co-creation, Awareness Climate Change
Governance Process efficiencies Collaboration, Self- governance Grassroots innovations and transition initiatives, Co-creation and participation Co-production
Economy De-risking Sharing risks, Government support Removal of administrative barriers
Process inibitors
Knowledge -
Governance -
Economy Budget constraints NBS not a priority
IM Keywords
  • Participatory planning & budgeting

  • Local scale green area

  • Private Finance Iniative PFI

  • Crowdfunding

  • Maximize material productivity and energy efficiency

  • Adopt a stewardship role

  • Encourage sufficiency

  • Re-purpose the business for society/environment

  • Develop scale-up solutions